All posts filed under: Slugs

Stage three thyroid cancer

My thyroid cancer was found quite by accident. I was having lung symptoms so my rheumatologist thought that I might be having problems with the methotrexate. She ordered a chest CT scan. It turned out that I wasn’t having lung problems I was having a different problem.  I had a mass growing on my thyroid. This was my first cancer and I was in total denial that I might possibly have cancer. My patient doctor explained that the next step was a biopsy. I put the procedure off as long as I could. I was a working woman and I needed to work. Finally, the day arrived. In the x-ray department I was given a local anesthetic. Guided by ultrasound and a long needle, my doctor captured a number of samples from my thyroid. When the results came back, it was definitely cancer. It turned out to be stage three papillary carcinoma. It is not an overly aggressive cancer and it  is slow growing. Lucky me. My thyroid labs had always been normal. There was …

Breast cancer complications

I have survived three cancers, rheumatoid arthritis and a hip replacement.  I expected that I would eventually have another cancer. The disease seemed to be written in my stars. However, I wasn’t expecting another complication from my breast cancer treatment. My first complication was a rare uterine cancer called uterine papillary serous cancer. It is a side effect of being on tamoxifen.  This cancer is aggressive and behaves similarly to ovarian cancer in that it is aggressive and can be deadly. It is never caught early. I was fortunate because it was picked up by my rheumatologist on a lower back MRI. So, I spent the entire 2018 with a biopsy, then major robotic surgery, followed by a summer of chemo, finished off with vaginal radiation for the holidays. My complication was a breast abscess formed in necrotic fat tissue as a result of radiation for breast cancer. Any surgery or radiation will cause scarring in the healthy tissue. I had a hard lump in my breast after surgery and radiation. I understood it to …

Mary Mann Cancer Journal

Fireplace, quail block and cancer

November 8, 2019 Cancer Journal A grey fog has settled over the city. I can’t see the mountains. I can only see the neighborhood. The temperature is supposed to hit the sixties here in Albuquerque, but I doubt it. We need the sun to warm us up. Winter seems to have hit us suddenly. We turned from green to dull winter brown almost overnight. The quail block outside my bedroom window has been very busy. Lots of birds. Fat quail families making their regular visits. The squirrels have left the old tomato plant and are happily munching the quail block with the birds. I haven’t seen the chipmunks lately. Life in the backyard. I enjoy winter here in Albuquerque. I enjoy my fireplace. Yesterday I had my afternoon coffee in a comfortable chair by the fire. I read another chapter or two from my current library book on my kindle. I am reading Ken Follett’s Pillars of the Earth. It is a seven hundred page book. The story draws you in and you feel the …

Mary Mann Cancer Journal

Cancer Complications Never go away

Cancer Journal update November 5, 2019 I had forsaken this website as I felt my cancer was in the past. I now understand that cancer is never really in the past. This month is the six year anniversary of my breast cancer diagnosis. It is also the one year anniversary for vaginal radiation of my uterine cancer. I spent most of last year being treated for uterine papillary serous carcinoma. It is a rare, aggressive cancer similar to ovarian cancer in behavior. It is caused by the breast cancer drug, Tamoxifen. I have spent most of the year recovering from major robotic surgery, chemotherapy and radiation. I am stronger. My mind is back to its former self. I am so happy and relieved. Now I have an open wound over my breast cancer scar tissue. My new breast cancer surgeon says that after being exposed to radiation, breast fat (what we feel as our breast) becomes necrotic and that damaged tissue breaks the skin looking for an out. I now have a half inch lesion. …

Uterine papillary serous cancer 2018

I became suspicious that there was more to my D&C and biopsy than I was expecting. My GYN Doc called me in to her office a week early to discuss my biopsy results. It was also her day for surgery.  She came up from the OR suite just to talk to me. Bad signs. I like her. She is a petite woman of Asian heritage. Friendly. Personable. Professional. She quickly arrived carrying pictures she had taken during the D&C and a copy of the pathology report. She handed it to me. I read serous cancer. Reconfirmed. No doubt about it. She said she wasn’t familiar with this type of cancer, but I suspect she was playing the discussion forward to the next doctor. I have an appointment with an experienced GYN oncology surgeon on Monday. Uterine papillary serous cancer, UPSC for short, is also called uterine serous cancer and uterine serous adenocarcinoma. Docs and Google will understand if you just say serous cancer. It is a rare subset of endometrial cancer. It is relentlessly aggressive …

Look Good Feel Better

There is one good thing about chemotherapy. It is the Look Good Feel Better program. Fun. A time to share. Like Christmas. It is a two-hour appointment with a cosmetologist in a small group of women who have cancer. I had participated in a program five years ago when I was in radiation treatment for breast cancer. That appointment was at MD Anderson on Indian School near Kaseman. This session was at the Rust Cancer Center and was equally as good as the one five years ago. We are each given a cosmetic bag full of cosmetics that matches our skin tones. The bags come sealed and ready for us. At our places we each have a mirror and cosmetic wipes. Opening the bag is like Christmas. My bag had Chanel powder, lipstick and blush. Clinique foundation, Estee Lauder face cream and eye makeup, IT brow powder and a set of brushes, body lotion and sun screen. Pure joy. Our instructor walks us through the steps of taking care of our face during cancer treatment. …

Childhood leukemia success, a bit of history

Freireich and Frei became unlikely partners when they went to work at the National Cancer Institute in 1955.  They were opposites in personality, but they were miracle workers on the leukemia ward. At that time the death rate for childhood leukemia was 90%.  Children were bleeding to death.  Freireich and Frei were first to do something about the falling levels of platelets in these children. Against resistance, when the NCI’s blood bank refused to give them blood for the necessary transfusions, they sought blood elsewhere. They got the blood, transfused the children and the results were notable. Freireich and Frei  decided that using multiple chemotherapy medications would be more effective than one medication at a time.  Again, they were seriously accused of being cruel to children. They went ahead with their idea. They started using a cocktail of four medications. Children began to survive. Unfortunately, eventually the cancer came back. Next Freireich and Frei decided that they needed to give their chemo cocktail for an entire year. Even though they had been so successful with their innovations, …